Project Management: An End-to-End Study of Control Plan

Using a project control plan, you can evaluate how to effectively control a project and prepare for it using theoretical knowledge and current-scenario synopsis, such as productivity metrics. Control plans help organizations in keeping a keen eye on the process and make sure that the required improvements are taking place during the life cycle of the part or product.

The Control Plan: What Is It?

A control plan and monitoring in the management of the project is a means to keep track of a project and ensure the required deadlines and standards are up to the mark. The planning of a project manager requires obtaining and interpreting information about the project, team, and environment in order to make proper decisions. The guidebook discusses the abilities required to track benchmarks and review progress.

The project is now officially underway, and the control process has started, after the process of initiating, planning, and carrying out the project. For good forward momentum to continue, it is essential to monitor team performance and respond aptly and immediately to any urgent concerns. Project managers may also need to assess earlier process groups and make improvements as a project enters its busiest periods. Five phases could be used to break down these activities, allowing managers to carry out each procedure more skillfully.

The Steps of the Project Management Controlling Plan

Although the planning process is variable and takes on a distinct form for each project and management, the basic structure is divided into the following five steps −

Achieve Performance Goals

The standards must first be developed by the project management before they can start holding their team and project accounting. In order for a project to be deemed successful or on track, a performance benchmark must be achieved. The project team is provided with guidance and benchmarks to concentrate on during the active phase of the project in order to hold them accountable for upholding these standards.

Standards also provide project managers with an essential measuring stick for evaluating the progress of a project. As long as expectations are being met or exceeded, managers can have confidence that their team is on the right track. The manager is aware that if standards aren't being met, they should return to the earlier process groups and change things like their staff, schedules, or objectives.

There will be both real and abstract requirements for every project. Tangible standards are distinct, quantifiable goals that are readily observable, as opposed to intangible standards, which are more ethereal and cannot be actively measured.

Here are some examples of measurable performance criteria −

  • Timing

  • Finance

  • Production rates

  • Extra time

  • Lavish

Meanwhile, abstract standards could be −

  • Spirit of Team

  • Effect of Management

  • Contentment of Consumer

Setting abstract norms is nevertheless achievable and beneficial, despite the greater difficulty. Improvements in one of a project's tangible or intangible components will frequently have an impact on the other since they are interdependent. Project managers will achieve better outcomes with their tangible standards if they give intangible standards a higher priority.

Monitoring Performance

The control process group will measure and track performance in relation to the standards after they have been established. Only via measurement and monitoring are project managers able to address lagging performance and put the project back on track.

Monitoring the metrics connected to the defined criteria is the simplest way to keep track of performance. There are frequently clear connections between certain measures and measurable criteria.

Management monitoring the degree to which their team follows a schedule, for instance, can keep track of when work is given and how many adjustments are necessary before it is approved. In order to gauge how the team is doing in reference to the budget, the manager can also keep track of how much money is spent on specific items.

When evaluating performance against intangible standards, project managers might need to think outside the box. With only one statistic, employee morale cannot be monitored effectively. Instead, managers can collect qualitative data by conversing with employees, collecting anonymous survey responses, and regularly monitoring the team's attitude.

Compare to Standards

Project managers are tasked with gathering performance data and comparing it to the standards they have established. The manager can find discrepancies between the expected standards and the team's actual performance during this stage.

Between these gaps, there may be both positive gaps (where the team is exceeding expectations) and negative gaps (where the team has fallen short of expectations). Positive gaps indicate that the manager's estimates were adequately conservative, which is good news. There is no need for further action in relation to these gaps other than to monitor them and commend the team.

Project issues are exacerbated by negative gaps. When management notices a standard is not being met, they must look into the issue further to ascertain its scope and severity. A modest gap could be a straightforward modification that can be safely ignored. For instance, if a team is a day behind schedule, it's possible that the project will resume on time of its own accord. A more substantial variation that could need to be addressed is if the project is around a week or more behind schedule.

Examine Variations

Once the project manager has identified those areas that are off-course, it's critical to understand why a team is not performing up to par. If the previous process groups received the appropriate amount of time and attention, deviations should be minimal. If they do, it indicates that the project manager did not adequately take into account all of the project's circumstances or requirements. Recognizing the elements that were overlooked is essential if the standards or activities included in the project are to be successfully updated to achieve the original purpose.

When examining variations, a thorough examination of standards and team performance is required. The specificity of the difference between the two will assist project managers in identifying the cause. A team that consistently blows deadlines could serve as an example. If the period of time between the intended deadline and the job's submission is consistently growing, the team might not have the skills, motivation, or resources to finish excellent work in the allotted time.

Managers should also take into account measures that are only tangentially related to the major indicators in order to better understand the cause of variances. A project manager might look into how many overtime hours the team has accrued in the aforementioned scenario. If they often clock high amounts of overtime, there may just be a shortage of personnel. However, the team might not be encouraged to put up the effort to fulfill deadlines if overtime is infrequently recorded or is only recorded right before one.

Make Necessary Corrections

Making corrections for any discrepancies detected is the process's last step. After identifying constructive gaps, managers should postpone any modifications until the project is complete. The project has a buffer in case there are more delays or setbacks thanks to these performance areas that have performed better than expected.

However, management must take action when there are poor performance gaps. For the project to be effectively finished, changes must be made. Different steps will need to be performed, depending on the severity and magnitude of the deviation. If a team is one day behind schedule, all that may be required to increase their effort and get back on track is a simple reminder of the project's importance. Managers may need to take an extra action, such as increasing the team size or enforcing forced overtime, if a project is a week behind schedule.


Processes for acquiring and analyzing project data that are used to manage project costs and schedules. Project controls are responsible for starting, planning, keeping an eye on, controlling, communicating, and wrapping up projects' budgets and timelines. Project controls are, in the end, repeatable procedures for assessing the state of a project, predicting expected results based on those assessments, and then enhancing project performance if the predicted results are subpar.

Updated on: 19-Jan-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started